Google Hummingbird: What You Need to Know

Last week, Google launched Hummingbird, its new search algorithm. Unlike the algorithm updates Google has preferred recently (see Panda and Penguin), Hummingbird is a total algorithm replacement — the first since 2010.

What does Hummingbird mean for you? First, deep breaths — if you’ve been doing SEO right, no need to change anything. The new Hummingbird algorithm is designed to focus on something Google’s been prioritizing for quite some time: Original, engaging and informative website content.

This pairs naturally with Google’s recent move to make search term data ‘100% not provided’ to website managers. Google is sending a message — they’re focusing less and less on individual keywords and more and more on the intention behind the query as a whole.

Here are some of Hummingbird’s major takeaways:

  • Semantic Search – The biggest focus of Hummingbird is to improve the Google algorithm’s ability to deliver real value to the user. To do this, Hummingbird now has an enhanced ability to understand natural human language patterns, anticipate future queries and harness the Knowledge Graph to provide answers to the actual intent of the search — not just individual key terms within the query.
  • Knowledge Graph Updates – With the focus on semantic search, Google’s Knowledge Graph has become increasingly important. Google is collecting information in the Knowledge Graph and mapping complicated relationships and concepts in order to better answer complex queries. But new comparison tools and filters don’t just answer questions — they anticipate them.
  • Voice Search – The increasing number of smartphone voice searches is one of the major reasons for Google’s Hummingbird rollout. Users speaking their query into a smartphone are more likely to use “conversational search” — which requires Google’s algorithm to have a better understanding of complicated, natural human language patterns and meanings.
  • Social Sharing – As Google continues its focus on returning website results with helpful, original content, it’s now more important than ever to create an authoritative presence on the web. It’s not just about keywords any more — it’s about creating engaging content and providing real answers in order to boost social shares.